December 8, 2019

As we gather for the Second Sunday of Advent, I am so grateful for all of you. Your generosity over the years has made this beautiful campus possible. For the past three weeks, we worshipped in a space that has been used for so many wonderful parish events over the past 11 years. And for these past three weeks, we have celebrated God’s love for us through the celebration of the Eucharist in Marian Hall.

Now we are back in our church and grateful for the continued generosity of so many of you who made our lighting project possible. The project was paid for from your generous contributions to our capital campaign, our Annual Appeal rebate, and your ongoing support of our capital maintenance fund. This new lighting system will not only provide better light in the church, but it will save us thousands of dollars with new energy-efficient LED bulbs.

I am also grateful for those who helped to move items over to Marian Hall and then, last weekend, helped to move them back to the church. I am also grateful for the flexibility of our liturgical ministers and the great coordinating effort of Larry Cadorniga and our facilities staff. This has really been a community effort. Thank you!

This week, and in the weeks to come, we have more opportunities to come together as a community and help. This weekend we come together as a wider church in Western Washington to support the work of Catholic Community Services (CCS) through the annual Appeal for the Poor.

CCS is the largest private provider of social services in the state of Washington. Their ministry in reaching out to those on the margins is made possible through our support. And they use our support very efficiently. Our contributions are stretched to “maximum efficiency,” according to the President of CCS, Michael Reichert. CCS spends 92 cents of every dollar raised to directly assist those who are served. With only 8% going to overhead costs, we can be assured that our contributions will go to the people who are most in need.

I hope you will be as generous as you are able in supporting the more than 170 programs and services of CCS. We really can make a difference in peoples’ lives by the support we give.

In addition to this weekend’s collection to support CCS, we begin our first week staffing the Winter Hospitality Overflow (WHO) Shelter at St. Andrew Lutheran Church here in Vancouver. This shelter program provides a safe and warm place for families to sleep during the coldest and wettest winter months. I hope you will consider joining us to serve a shift or two this week as a way to give back to the Lord in thanks for all the blessings in our lives.

We also continue this weekend to collect gifts for our Giving Tree. If you have not had a chance to take an ornament or two (or three!) and bring back a gift yet, I encourage you to participate in this wonderful community event. You can purchase your gifts and bring them back next weekend. There is also more information in the Bulletin about how you can help in other ways with the Giving Tree this year.

Our “Justice Marketplace” continues in the St. John Bosco Room after all the Masses this weekend. This marketplace features handmade items by the Joyful Piecemakers and Ethical Trade items from around the globe, including coffee from our friends in Franco Bido’ in the Dominican Republic, fair trade chocolates, Christmas ornaments and much more. Our Sister Parish Committee will also be happy to show you the photos from our most recent pilgrimage to St. Bernadette’s in Samoya, Kenya. You will also have a chance to contribute to the “Hannah’s Shoes” project that provides new shoes for the children of our Sister Parish.

This outreach to our brothers and sisters in need -  here in Western Washington through CCS, the Giving Tree, and the WHO, and throughout the world through our support of the Justice Marketplace - brings them close to us. They too are an extended part of our St. Joseph Family.

May our gifts of time, talent, and treasure to these efforts draw all of us closer to each other and to the Lord Jesus who we await in joyful hope.

God Bless,
Fr. Gary Lazzeroni